"John Carter" Makes Debut on Mars and Earth
Simultaneously, March 9, 2012
Disney presents the epic action-adventure film “John Carter,” based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’
classic, “A Princess of Mars,” the first novel in Burroughs’ Barsoom series.
This year, 2012, marks the 100th anniversary of Burroughs’ character John Carter, the
original hero featured in the series, who has thrilled generations with his adventures
on Mars. Over generations, John Carter has become a heroic paradigm across all forms of
pop culture. From novels to comic books, artwork to animation, TV and now cinema, the
character has inspired some of the most creative minds of the last century. A fan of the
Barsoom series of books since childhood, Academy Award®–winning director/writer
Andrew Stanton explains what inspired him to bring “John Carter” to the big screen:
“I stumbled across these books at the perfect age. I was about ten and I just fell in love with the concept of a human finding himself on Mars, among amazing creatures in a
strange new world. A stranger in a strange land. It was a very romantic aspect of adventure and science fiction. I always thought it would be cool to see this realized on
the big screen.”
Andrew Stanton directed and co-wrote the screenplay for Disney•Pixar’s
“WALL•E,” which earned the Academy Award® and Golden Globe® for Best Animated
Feature (2008). Stanton was nominated for an Oscar® for the screenplay. He made his directorial debut with Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Nemo,” garnering an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay and winning the Oscar for Best Animated Feature (2003). Stanton has worked as a screenwriter and/or executive producer
on Disney•Pixar’s “Toy Story,” “A Bug’s Life” (which he also co-directed), “Toy Story 2,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “Ratatouille” and “Up.”
Considered by many to be the first space hero, John Carter was introduced to the world in American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs’ story “Under the Moons of Mars,” which was published serially in All-Story Magazine before being renamed and published as the novel “A Princess of Mars” in 1917. Burroughs would go on to write 10 more books in what came to be known as the “Barsoom” series—Barsoom being Burroughs’ name for the planet Mars. Since the book’s publication, some of the 20th Century’s greatest minds in art, literature and science have credited it with inspiring and motivating their work.
Burroughs started writing the story when he was 35 years old. He was working for his brother as a stationery company at the time and used scratch pads manufactured by the company to create elaborate worksheets that helped him keep track of his plots, characters and timelines. Before he was finished, Burroughs realized that he had no idea how to get a novel published and submitted 43,000 words of the story to the editor of All- Story magazine under the title “Dejah Thoris, Martian Princess.” Managing Editor Thomas Newell Metcalf offered $400 for the serialization rights and promptly changed the title.
Science fiction writers Robert A Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury have all credited John Carter as inspiration for their own work. James Cameron has cited the John Carter books as an influence on his epic science fiction film “Avatar.” George Lucas credits Carter with inspiring the “Star Wars” movies and writer Michael Crichton named one of the characters after John Carter. Scientist Carl Sagan read the books as a young boy and for two decades, a map of the planet Barsoom, as imagined by Burroughs, hung in the hallway outside the Sagan’s office at Cornell University. Today, one can still visit the site of Burroughs’ home, which he named Tarzana Ranch, in the city of Tarzana, California.